English Ohioans

From Ohio History Central

Numerous Ohioans are descended from English ancestors. Today, English Ohioans continue to enhance Ohio's cultural and social landscape.

Many of the people who moved to Ohio in the years after the American Revolution originally came from England. Some of these people were former soldiers in the British Army. Having seen the land available in the Ohio Country during the American Revolution, they chose to remain in the region. Some of these people were squatters, while others purchased their land legally from the federal government or from real estate speculators. A similar movement of people occurred after the War of 1812. Tensions with the British and local American Indians (and increasingly aggressive U.S. offensives against American Indian peoples living in the area, which often resulted in treaties forcing American Indian peoples to cede their land) declined dramatically after that war, making Ohio much more attractive to settlers.

Whether they arrived before or after the War of 1812, the English immigrants came from a variety of social and economic backgrounds. Beginning in the 1810s and 1820s, like the Irish, some of the English people found employment on the canals and railroads. Other English men and women worked in factories. Like most Ohioans, the majority of English people were farmers. Unlike other national groups, especially the Irish, the English immigrants did not endure ridicule, harassment, or discrimination during the early nineteenth century. Many white Ohioans disliked the Irish because of their religious beliefs. Most Irish migrants were Roman Catholics, while most other Ohioans were Protestants. Many English immigrants were also members of one of the various Protestant denominations.

For much of Ohio's history, a significant percentage of the state's population was foreign born. In 1860, 328,249 immigrants lived in Ohio. These people accounted for fourteen percent of the state's population. By 1900, the number of immigrants in Ohio rose to 458,734, but the percentage of the population that was foreign-born declined to eleven percent. Prior to 1900, most foreign-born people living in Ohio came from Western Europe. Most of these people were of German origin (204,160 in 1900), with the English and English Canadians second at 64,629 people, and the Irish third at 55,018 people. By the 1880s, the home countries of immigrants began to change. Many of the new immigrants to arrive in the United States came from Eastern and Southern European countries, like Albania, Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, and Czechoslovakia, rather than from Western European countries, like Great Britain, Ireland, and Germany. As the twentieth century progressed, English immigration dwindled.

See Also


  1. Roseboom, E.H., and F.P. Weisenburger. A History of Ohio. Columbus: The Ohio History Connection, 1996.